War crimes court should probe NATO role in Libya: S Africa

25th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague should probe possible human rights violations committed by NATO forces in Libya, South Africa's deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe has said.

"We note they (NATO) are attempting to create the impression that the rebels are acting on their own in their attacks in Tripoli but there are clear links and co-ordination at that level," Motlanthe told parliament Wednesday in response to lawmakers' questions.

"The question is whether the (court) will have the wherewithal to unearth that information and bring those who are responsible to book, including the NATO commanders on the ground," the local press quoted him as saying.

South Africa, a temporary member of the UN Security Council, voted in favour of the air exclusion zone over Libya which has enabled air strikes under NATO command.

However President Jacob Zuma has since led South African protests that NATO has used the UN resolution to pursue it own interests, going beyond protecting the safety of the civilian population.

Zuma on Tuesday said the NATO-led use of force had undermined Africa's peace efforts.

"I think that the point we have been making is that those who have a lot of capacity, even the capacity to bombard the countries, really undermined the AU's (African Union's) initiatives and effort to deal with the matter in Libya," he told reporters.

Motlanthe said the air strikes had made it more difficult to adopt new UN resolutions, notably on Syria, where there is also a growing uprising against the regime.

"Because of this situation created in Libya, the Security Council has not been able to agree on how to intervene in Syria," he argued.

© 2011 AFP

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